Dusan Grasic is the new program director for the Windermere Valley Ski Club (WVSC). Grasic is entering his new role at club level after spending nearly twenty years with Alpine Canada.
“I can’t wait to return to what I consider to be my home club,” said Grasic. Grasic moved from Slovenia to Canada in 1995. He was head coach of the BC Alpine Ski Team for seven years before advancing to the national level. Grasic believes Invermere and Panorama are the best place in the world to be a ski racer. “When my family first moved to Invermere in 1998, we immediately felt accepted and welcomed by Panorama and the Windermere Valley Ski Club. I look forward to giving back to the community.
Helmut Spiegl has been Program Director / Head Coach for WVSC since 2009. Over the past twelve years, Spiegl has been successful in creating an affordable program and increasing WVSC enrollment numbers. The current enrollment is 72 children. The WVSC membership base is a mix of local Columbia Valley families and families from Alberta with second homes in the valley.
“I think Helmut did an amazing job,” said Grasic. “He is an athlete coach, friend and father figure to the athletes he has worked with. He put his soul into the club when things weren’t so easy, and always, he has shown a passion for the sport of ski racing. The children learned this passion from him.
WVSC has a long history in the Columbia Valley, producing top notch ski racing talent. Alumni include World Cup ski cross medalist Courtney Hoffos, Olympians Christina Lustenburger, Ben Thomsen and national slalom champion Munroe Hunsicker.
“The club has grown in recent years. It is a community driven club with programs that people can afford. As a program director, Grasic’s mission is to make skiers for life. “And I hope to teach them how to be runners too,” Grasic said with a laugh. “Everyone is welcome, it’s my mentality. I will give to the children who want more, but I will not push anyone away. Grasic, who holds degrees in engineering and coaching, also brings experience in coach development to the table.
For Grasic, skiing is one of the most exciting sports. “Whether you are a beginner or an advanced skier, you get a lot of adrenaline from doing this sport.” It is also a family sport.
“Kids and parents can do it together, you’re outside and if you decide to run you can see new places or be a skier for life and explore on your own. Running is a great way to learn to enjoy the sport. Running is the best basis for young skiers who are learning the sport.
Grasic is one of Canada’s most successful competitive alpine ski coaches of all time. His coaching career on the World Cup circuit began in 2002 when he was invited to join the national team as the head coach of the men’s technical team on the Cup circuit. from Europe. The following year, Grasic became the head coach of the men’s World Cup technology team. In competitive alpine skiing, the term “tech” designates the disciplines of giant slalom and slalom, while the “speed” disciplines are downhill and super-giant slalom.
Grasic remained in that post for two years, coaching Thomas Grandi to his first two World Cup giant slalom wins. These victories were also a first in Canadian history. Under Grasic’s leadership, his squad has grown into one of the strongest technical teams on the World Cup circuit.
In 2006, Grasic took on a new challenge by becoming program director for the whole of Alpine Canada. The Canadian ski team had the most podiums in those two years.
Despite this success, Grasic missed training. In 2008, he returned to coach the men’s World Cup technical team. Between 2008 and 2011, the men’s technical team achieved seven world cup podiums. In 2009, Mike Janyk won the first technical medal for Canada at the World Ski Championships in Val d’Isère, France.
As an avid skier for life, Grasic is delighted to share his passion for ski racing with the young families who are an integral part of the ski club. It invites current and future ski enthusiasts to get involved as runners, coaches, volunteers or participants who wish to improve their skiing knowledge.